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Designing Fresh Flower Arrangements: Working the Flower Color Wheel


posted by on Arrangement Ideas, DIY, Flower Facts


One of the first things that comes to mind when planning flower arrangements or bouquets is COLOR. It’s one of the fundamental elements of any type of design, as important as Form (shape of the flowers and the overall arrangement) and Texture (from smooth and sleek to ornate and airy.) (More on those later!) There are lots of different ways to combine colors that you might have never considered that can really set your floral arrangements and wedding flowers apart! First, a quick primer on Color. Color has three components: Hue (what most of us think of when we say “color”), Value (from light to dark of a given color), and Saturation (the intensity – vibrant or soft/muted — of a given color). Today we’re going to focus on Hue. Any of us who have made it through Kindergarten have seen a color wheel (ok, maybe not the flower version!) …and there you have your basic hues: Yellow, Yellow-Orange, Orange, Red-Orange, Red, Red-Violet, Violet (Purple), Blue-Violet, Blue, Blue-Green, Green, Yell0w-Green. To begin experimenting with your flower arrangements, start working the Flower Color Wheel.
The Color Wheel in Flowers
The Flower Color Wheel

For vibrant, intense results, combine Complementary colors in your bouquets and arrangements.  These appear across from each other on the color wheel:  Yellow-Purple, Blue-Orange, Red-Green.  When you put Complementary colors side-by-side they tend to enhance the intensity of each other.

Complementary Color Combinations for Fresh Flower Arrangements
Complementary Color Combinations for Fresh Flower Arrangements

You can create soothing, harmonious, romantic fresh flower combinations using Analogous colors.  These are families of colors that are next to each other on the color wheel, like “Blues” (blue, blue-violet, blue-green), or “Yellows” (yellow-green, yellow, yellow-orange).

Analogous Color Combinations For Flower Arrangements
Analogous Color Combinations For Fresh Flower Arrangements

You can also create unusual, exciting combinations using Triadic colors, basing your flower choices on three colors that are equidistant from one another on the color wheel.  Think yellow/red/blue, or purple/green/orange, or blue-green/yellow-orange/red-violet.

Tradic Color Combinations for Fresh Flower Arrangements
Triadic Color Combinations for Fresh Flower Arrangements

Of course, this is just the beginning.  As you get more comfortable working with different harmonies, start experimenting with Value and Saturation.  (We’ll look at those a little more closely in a later post.)  You’ll start to see combinations that work and don’t work, and will begin to see how following some basic design guidelines can lead you to beautiful success in floral design.

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